Where does your writing take you?

Writer's Digest coverI went to film school, so I have a pretty strong background in dramatic structure. I do a whole outline, and as I work I get progressively more detailed. But if something happens in those sponatenous moments of writing that’s different than my outline, I go with the spontaneity, and change the outline to suit it.

-Author Garth Stein, Writer’s Digest, February 2015

I was interested to read this segment from a Writer’s Digest author interview. I’m always interested in how authors work.

I tend to be a pantser. I suppose I have the basic idea of where the story will take me, and I generally have an idea of the ending, but I’m a disaster at crafting outlines. I do love sitting down at the computer and allowing myself to be carried away by plotlines or characters I’d never even imagined before.

So I found this an interesting hybrid – a plotter who does an outline, then allows the story to change during the writing process, and goes back to change the original outline.

Do you control your writing, or does your writing control you?

Here’s to writers – plotters and pantsers alike – allowing our writing to take us in unexpected directions.

What works best for you, writers?

Plotters, pantsers, and hybrids anywhere on the spectrum between the two, how do you approach your writing projects?


  1. evelyneholingue on March 7, 2015 at 12:45 am

    Like you I love to write by the seat of my pants. I live a pretty organized life but I’m the happiest when unplanned and unpredicted happens. For my novels I always know the ending but I hate outlines. Although for my new one I am currently drafting a more specific outline than I usually do. Wel’ll see if it is better! 😊

Leave a Comment